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Man jailed for grooming children

3 Mar 2021

A man has been jailed for nine years after he groomed two young girls.

Officers were called to the house of Jacob McHale, 27, in June last year as part of a search for a missing 14-year-old girl.

When questioned by officers about the child’s whereabouts, McHale said there was someone with him, but gave a false name.

Suspicious about what he was saying, officers searched the house and found the missing child in his bedroom, before arresting him on suspicion of child abduction.

While in custody, McHale professed to police he “honestly believed she was 17”, but later admitted this wasn’t his only offence.

The previous year McHale had sent a series of inappropriate texts to another 14-year-old, claiming to be a teen himself.

McHale repeatedly demanded sexually explicit photos before luring her to his house in Tenby Close, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge to have sex with her.

The victim later revealed the offences to her mother, who immediately reported McHale to police.

McHale admitted charges of child abduction, engaging in sexual activity with a child and meeting a child under the age of 16 following grooming.

He was jailed for nine years last week on Wednesday (25 February) at Peterborough Crown Court. He was also handed an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for the rest of his life.

DC Dave Cooper said: “The way McHale manipulated and exploited these two vulnerable girls is truly horrifying, and has understandably had a tremendous impact on the victims.

“I would like to applaud the bravery and tenacity of both the victims and their families, for enduring such heartbreak and having the courage to come forward.”

For more information on child exploitation, how to recognise it and how to report it, click here

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